Canberra weather: chance of snow, severe weather warning issued

Snow is forecast for Perisher as well as the ACT and region. Photo: PerisherCanberra winters 101: a beginner’s guide
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There weren’t many more important questions floating around Canberra early in the week than whether the skies would be kind to snow-lovers and let the white stuff fall over the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s answer is that they most likely will, while it has also warned of harsh winds and blizzard conditions in the region late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

Canberra was pelted by wet and windy weather on Tuesday afternoon, with the ACT State Emergency Services receiving 31 calls for help by 8.30pm.

Most calls were about fallen trees on roads and powerlines. The roof of an industrial building in Fyshwick was also damaged.

If anyone in Canberra thought Tuesday felt particularly icy, they weren’t mistaken with the apparent temperature dipping to a frosty minus 5.3 degrees shortly before 5.30pm, even though the actual temperature was 5.3 degrees.

Canberrans will probably have to be quick to catch the snow if it does arrive; bureau forecaster Katarina Kovacevic predicted most would fall in early hours of Wednesday morning.

“For the actual city of Canberra it looks like it will just be snow flurries,” she said.

“It could be more over the hills of Canberra where it could reach a couple of centimetres, but there is a possibility of a dust of snow in the city.

“The best time to catch it is the morning as by the afternoon it will still be fairly cool but probably warm enough for the snow to melt.”

But it probably won’t be warm enough for Canberrans to put their beanies and gloves away.

The bureau’s severe weather warning predicts a cold front with winds averaging 50 to 60 kilometres an hour and possibly up to 90 kilometres an hour. #Cold temps on the way, bringing #snow to the #ACT tonight. Check the latest forecast at https://t杭州龙凤419/lfciu6Nkv5pic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/VfueFpjKxG— BOM ACT (@BOM_ACT) July 11, 2016

The warning was also for people in South Coast, Southern Tablelands, Riverina, Snowy Mountains, and parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands, South West Slopes and Lower Western Forecast Districts. Severe Weather Warning updated at https://t杭州龙凤419/3m5UV65Zo5. Damaging winds possible in the #ACT later today and Wed. pic.twitter杭州龙凤419m/8iBv6Nye2O— BOM ACT (@BOM_ACT) July 12, 2016

Ms Kovacevic said the strong, gusty front was expected to build throughout Tuesday and ease Wednesday afternoon, but overnight temperatures would remain freezing all week.

Wednesday night was tipped to fall to -1 degrees, followed by even lower temperatures of -4 degrees for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

The coldest day was forecast to be Wednesday’s top of 6 degrees, followed by a gradual reach to 15 degrees by the weekend.

The wet weather was expected to clear Wednesday evening and stay away until Monday.

Acting director for Roads ACT Ken Marshall urged motorists to stay safe throughout the harsh weather.

“The predicted snowfall is likely to see an impact on our roads, so I urge motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to be vigilant and exercise caution,” Mr Marshall said.

“The roads may be slippery or icy, even if there is no snow. Some road closures may need to be put in place so please obey any signage or traffic marshals.”

The ACT government said there was a chance that the Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve would close due to the dangerous conditions.

In anticipation of the snow, Mount Franklin Road was closed at Piccadilly Circus, along with Two Sticks Road within Brindabella National Park, on Tuesday afternoon.

The government said the roads would be closed until further notice.

Time for new voices: Why Steve Price’s tired schtick is getting very, very old

Confrontation: Steve Price dismissed Van Badham’s comments as ‘hysterical’. Photo: ABC TV Tarang Chawla reacts in shock as Steve Price responds to his question on Q&A. Photo: ABC TV
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Steve Price has come under fire for his comments. Photo: ABC TV

Q&A recap: Steve Price’s ‘hysterical’ insult 

Being a past-your-prime performer – sorry, “heritage artist” – can be difficult.

There comes a time when one’s audience is no longer going to get any bigger and those still paying attention are doing so out of fondness for your early stuff. No one heads along to a Rolling Stones gig hoping to hear a bunch of songs off the substandard new record and no one buys a late-period Paul McCartney album expecting it to be one that finally throws the Beatles in the shade.

But we recognise that, at this point in time, this is just what they do. Mick Jagger’s not going to suddenly return to the business career he put on hold at age 19 when he can still howl Satisfaction at a paying audience. Not only is it fun and lucrative, but it’s pretty much the only thing he can do.

A similar thought went through my mind while watching Monday night’s Q&A, as veteran conservative broadcaster Steve Price dismissively talked over journalist Van Badham even as she was explaining how dismissive attitudes toward women – such as those expressed by Price’s avowed pals Eddie McGuire and Sam Newman – contribute to a culture of violence. When she called him out on it, he called her hysterical – and the audience ooohed as though they were watching a pantomime villain twirl his moustache.

And it’s easy – and also fun! – to criticise Price for his casual misogyny and to giggle at how flustered and defensive he got when the woman he was attempting to talk over refused to yield. It’s deserving of mockery, because he was legitimately acting like an clown.

But, in his defence, that’s his thing.

There’s an inexplicably competitive market in Australian media for the niche best described as “middle-aged man suspicious of everything that’s not him”, as the existence of The Verdict and slew of angry criticisms about this year’s Gold Logie nominations made soberingly clear.

And it’s not like Price has an alternative career to fall back on. This is his market share, and he’s going to cling to it.

That’s because Price, Newman and McGuire and their ilk are all heritage artists. They have their classic material that they pull out to a decreasing audience of people that still punch the air as they sing along to such well-loved hits as You’re Getting Hysterical, It’s Just A Bit of Fun, Some of My Best Friends Are (Of The Group I’m Currently Stereotyping) and, of course, the timeless classic It’s Political Correctness Gone Mad!

We’ve heard those songs enough. They’re relics from another era, sending as reprehensible a message as the Beatles’ Run For Your Life and theStones’ Under My Thumb.

And, like classic rock, it gets far too much airplay. Watching Price’s undignified scramble on Q&A was like watching a sitcom dad demanding his daughter turn off that darn hippity-hoppity music, only with more genuine venom and fear.

Words have power and that’s why we take them so very seriously. Words shape attitudes and they shape actions.

If your job demands broadcasting the message that some group of people are less important than the one you represent, then you can’t pretend to be shocked, much less blameless, when that group is subsequently victimised by your audience.

This isn’t a freedom of speech issue: it’s a matter of taking responsibility for what one says. That isn’t exactly that onerous a demand to ask of those of us operating in the media, surely?

There are so many better songs out there, from a diverse range of far superior artists. They should be getting more airtime, because Price’s tired schtick is getting very, very old.

Scullion’s cabinet future uncertain

Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion in his office at Parliament House. Photo: Alex EllinghausenElection 2016: news, analysis and video
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Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion is facing speculation he could be dumped from cabinet as the emboldened Nationals meet to discuss a push for more frontbench positions in the Turnbull government.

Nationals MPs will meet at Parliament House on Tuesday afternoon amid reports suggesting Senator Scullion may step down from cabinet or be asked to go by leader Barnaby Joyce.

The party expects to pick up at least one extra frontbench position after winning an additional seat at the July 2 election, growing the proportion of the party’s representation inside the Coalition.

Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester dismissed speculation about Senator Scullion’s future as “paper talk” on Tuesday.

“Nigel Scullion will make his decision and let us know at some stage in the future,” Mr Chester, a Nationals MP, said on Sky News.

“Nigel Scullion in the portfolio of Indigenous affairs has had a critical role to play in trying to lift our Indigenous communities out of poverty, out of some of the welfare traps they’ve fallen into and provide a prosperous future for them.

“You don’t just collect [portfolios] like presents at Christmas time and say ‘how wonderful’. You’ve got to make them work and deliver outcomes for regional Australia.”

Senator Scullion is a former Howard government minister and the Nationals’ leader in the Senate, a position which could go to deputy leader and NSW senator Fiona Nash.

“I haven’t had a conversation with Nigel for a month or so, we’ve both been very busy on the road,” Mr Chester told Sky News.

Senator Scullion’s office would not comment on the speculation on Tuesday morning.

Junior Nationals minister Matthew Canavan, who could also emerge as a winner in the post-election movements, said any changes to the frontbench was a matter for Mr Joyce.

“As a team the Nationals have done very, very well,” he said.

“I think we’ve punched above our weight.”

Senator Canavan wouldn’t discuss his own prospects for promotion during an interview with ABC radio.

“I don’t think it’s any different than playing football or any endeavour in life where you want to be picked, you work your hardest, you let your performances on the field do the talking and then the selectors make their calls and you wait by the phone,” he said.

Candidates wait it out in two remaining cliffhanger seats

ALP candidate for Herbert Cathy O’Toole. Photo: Michael Chambers Coalition MP Ewen Jones is one of Parliament’s most colourful characters. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Election 2016: news, analysis and videoOnce riding high, Herbert is feeling unloved

Cathy O’Toole was sick of waiting. Sick of hanging on the next update on a trickle of postal votes from the Australian Electoral Commission.

So Labor’s candidate for Herbert, one of the two remaining “too close to call” seats, went back to work on Monday.

O’Toole, who works as chief executive of a mental health not-for-profit in Townsville, said it was by no means a concession of defeat.

“I didn’t want to be sitting around, I wanted to get on with things,” she said.

After 10 days of counting, O’Toole is currently ahead of sitting member Ewen Jones by 51 votes in the Townsville-based seat (down from 181 on Tuesday morning).

Asked how he is feeling, Jones replied: “I’m feeling zen, I’m getting some reading done.”

Just kidding.

“I’m definitely not getting my blood pressure taken,” the former auctioneer said.

Jones has been trying to distract himself by mopping and sweeping the house and listening to music (his Twitter followers will be aware of his eclectic tastes ranging from Alanis Morissette to jazz to Bruce Springsteen.)

O’Toole said it was impossible to know how the votes will play out from here.

‘It’s day by day, hour by hour,” she says.

“This was a 6.2 per cent ‘declared safe’ seat. We’ve smashed the margin and that’s a success.”

Jones insists he is the favourite, saying: “I back race horses at worse odds than this.”

A Jones victory would take the Coalition to 77 seats, extending the Coalition’s existing one seat majority in the House of Representatives.

There are still around 2500 postal votes, and they have been trending his way by 55 to 58 per cent. Then there are around 1400 absentee votes, which will be much closer, and a separate batch of pre-polls.

Jones predicts he will win by around 200 votes; some of his colleagues are less bolshie, saying he could creep over the line by as little as 50 votes.

The Adelaide seat of Hindmarsh remains close with Labor candidate Steve Georganas ahead by 595 votes.

Georganas has been through a count like this before, having won the seat by just 108 votes in 2004.

He said he was “certainly not” getting over-confident this morning.

“You know, all it takes is one bad batch to come in and you’re blown out of the water,” he told ABC News 24.

As well as getting the fright of his life in his own seat, Jones watched his good friend Wyatt Roy lose his Queensland seat of Longman.

Despite vast differences in their ages and physiques, the two men became extremely close during their six years in Parliament.

“I have relied on him really heavily,” Jones said. “He’s a mate of mine and I’m desperately sad for him.”

If Jones is ahead in the count next Monday he will attend the Liberal party room meeting. If not he will stay at home, waiting for the final count.

Paramedics hailed heroes after saving sidecar legend Mick Farrell’s life at Kurri Kurri Speedway

LIFE SAVED: On track paramedics have been hailed as heroes for saving speedway sidecar rider Mick Farrell’s life. Picture: Supplied
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Paramedic Darren Klein has been hailed a hero after bringing speedway sidecar legend Mick Farrell snr back to life after he suffered a heart attack at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday.

Farrell, 66, collapsed at the control of his bike during the warm-up before his heat in round four of the sidecar series on Saturday.

The incident happened only metres away from where Klein and assistant Warwick Miller were stationed and the two began resuscitation efforts within 40 seconds.

A team of four worked on Farrell, who had fallen onto the track, until an ambulance crew arrived on the scene and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter flew to the scene to rush him to John Hunter Hospital.

SURGERY: Speedway sidecar legend Mick Farrell snr owes his life to paramedics after suffering a heart attack on the track at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday.

Klein used a defibrillatorto re-establish a heartbeat and the men continued CPR until the ambulance crew was able to take over.

A Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokesman praised the efforts and professionalism of the paramedics and said without their quick action it was unlikely the rider would have survived.

Kurri Kurri Speedway Club president Peter Campton said Klein and Miller were heroes for their quick and professional actions and undoubtedly saved Farrell’s life.

Farrell was flown to John Hunter Hospital and was undergoing surgery on Monday after being stablised.

“It was just so lucky that it didn’t happen during the race,” Campton said.

“It all happened so quickly and Darren and Warwick were out there in a flash and did everything right.

Kurri Kurri Speedway Club president Peter Campton

“They were just warming up for their round four race when it happened.

“We are all pretty shocked as Mick is so well-loved and respected. He has been involved in the sport for 50 years in racing and in supporting the sport financially.

“We have to thank Darren and Warwick for saving his life.

“He was stabilised over the weekend and was due to go into surgery on Tuesday. Our thoughts and best wishes are with him and his family.”

Campton said the meeting was abandoned after the incident.

“There was no way anyone could continue. There was such a big contingent of sidecar teams there and Mick is just so well regarded by all of them,” he said.

The speedway club’s Facebook page received dozens of messages wish Farrell a speedy recovery.

Maitland Mercury